Ethyl acetate is a colorless liquid with a fruity smell. It is slightly soluble in water and soluble in most organic solvents such as alcohol, ether, and acetone. It is used as a solvent for wide range of applications across many industries such as food and beverages, pharmaceuticals, packaging, etc.

In pharmaceuticals industry ethyl acetate is used as a medium of extraction in concentration and purification of antibiotics. It is also used as an intermediate in the production of drugs such as sulphamethoxazole, rifampicin etc. Ethyl acetate-based solvent adhesives exhibit a stronger bond strength and a higher resistance to peeling. Owing to low cost, low toxicity, and pleasant odor it is primarily used as solvent or a diluent for applications such as nail varnish removal or an additive in cigarettes. Ethyl Acetate has applications as a solvent in inks for flexographic and rotogravure printing. Other applications of ethyl acetate include adhesives, cleaning fluids, coated papers, photographic films and plates, and artificial leather.

Ethyl acetate is a popular solvent used in the manufacturing of nitrocellulose lacquers, thinners, and varnishes. Due to its high dilution ratio with both aliphatic and aromatic diluents, it is highly preferred organic solvent exhibiting low toxicity.

The main process to produce ethyl acetate is by the esterification of ethanol with acetic acid in the presence of a catalyst. Although some manufacturers produce ethyl acetate by the catalytic condensation of acetaldehyde with alkoxides.

Among end-use industries, food and beverages held the largest volume share in the global ethyl acetate market in 2017. Rising demand for food & beverages is expected to drive growth of the global ethyl acetate market. For instance, according to the Food Statistics Pocketbook 2016, by Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs- UK, the gross value added of the food sector (excluding agriculture) increased 4.1% in 2015, following a 2.0 % increase in 2014.

Asia Pacific held significant market share in the global ethyl acetate market in 2017, owing to rising demand for ethyl acetate from the packaging industry. Ethyl acetate is used in manufacturing of flexible packaging, polyester, and BOPP films.

Besides packaging, trend of online food deliveries and e-retail business in the region, is projected to drive growth of ethyl acetate market in the Asia Pacific during the forecast period due to rising demand from food and beverages industry.

However, replacement of solvent based coating with water-borne coatings may hamper growth of the ethyl acetate market during the forecast period.

The global ethyl acetate market was pegged at 3.9 MMT in 2017, and is expected to register a CAGR of 6.0% in terms volume, during the forecast period (2018 – 2026), to reach 6.6 MMT by 2026.

Asia Pacific has the over capacity of ethyl acetate whereas Europe and North America are dependent on imports to satisfy the domestic demand.

Figure 1. Global Ethyl Acetate Market Share (%), By End-Use Industry, 2017

Figure 2. Global Ethyl Acetate Market Share (%), By Region, 2017

Some manufacturers are adopting greener route to produce ethyl acetate. For instance, SEKAB supplies green ethyl acetate to customers with high environmental demands. It is manufactured from biologically created ethanol, which uses raw materials such as sugar cane, corn, beet, etc. and is produced with bio-based process energy. Ethyl acetate of premium pure quality is manufactured from cellulose-based 2nd generation ethanol, a waste product from existing cellulose production.

Major players operating in the global ethyl acetate market include Celanese Corporation, Eastman Chemical, Solutia, INEOS Group Limited, Rhodia Brasil, Showa Denko, Shanghai Wujing Chemical, and Sasol Limited.

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